top of page

We are in the process of creating a comprehensive strategy to scale the systemic change already being fostered throughout Milwaukee, further improving the community's quality of life across multiple dimensions.  We are aiming to leverage a $20 million grant in a collaborative effort involving multiple partners, each focusing on their expertise to maximize the impact of the investment. 


Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants Program

The collaborative process aims to secure the EPA Community Change Grant with cross-sector partners. Milwaukee Walnut Way Conservation Corp. leads, with the City of Milwaukee, grassroots orgs, and the Environmental Justice & Infrastructure Initiative. Walnut Way, EJII and City of Milwaukee are working with Slipstream and Elevate (technical assistance providers) to advance the development of a unified, collaboratively created grant proposal submission, ensuring the inclusion of all partner stakeholders involved in this collective endeavor. Initial phase: info gathering and proposal drafting; subsequent phases focus on stakeholder review. The project aligns with stakeholder priorities in targeted neighborhoods. To extend beyond 36 months, explore additional sources like municipal strategies, matching resources, philanthropic entities, donors, and other funding. Current timeline for submission by April 15, 2024

Update In green 5/2/2024 - Slide Deck DRAFT Overview


Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants Program

Walnut Way Letter of Support Draft Template - EPA Grant

Conceptual Starting Point - Update 3/8/2024 - How can we positively impact the lives of 5300 in targeted neighbohrood individuals through a variety of approaches focusing on voting capabilities, marketable skills, healthy housing (affordable rental and home owernship), stable transportation, and healthcare access?

The project is a multi-faceted initiative aimed at fostering environmental justice, infrastructure development, and community engagement. Positioned as a comprehensive response to pressing environmental concerns, the project leverages the collective strength of Walnut Way and its partner organizations, deploying a budget of approximately 20 million to be distributed over 36 months. Update 3/8/2024 - How can we attract matching funds to seize the opportunity for long-term sustainability?


The project involves education, capacity building, governance participation, and environmental stewarding, with a specific focus on energy efficiency, weatherization, storm water management, healthy home resources, and data collection. An important aspect of the initiative includes the implementation of a micro-grid for subscription-based renewable energy access, as well as weatherizing 300 homes and significant green infrastructure projects. 


A critical part of this effort is the Resilient Resident Civic Engagement Compensation Program. This innovative program provides a method for community members to gain recognition and compensation for their contribution to the project, providing a way to earn additional income and engage in civic activities. Overall, the project aims for a holistic transformation of urban infrastructure and the creation of a sustainable, equitable community. Update 3/8/2024 - We must clearly outline how resident led initiatives can access direct recourses for self-directed projects programs and initiatives - toward a more cohesive community.

  1. Writing Team: Led by Antonio Butts from Walnut Way (, who acts as the lead agency and convener. Core members include Oliver Schmitz from the Grainger Institute for Engineering ( and Dr. Nilanjan Lodh from Marquette University College of Health Sciences ( Other key contributors are Chelsea Chandler from Clean Wisconsin ( and Jodi Jean Amble from Renew Wisconsin ( Update 3/8/2024 - Slip Stream is currently leading the initial phases of the proposal writing process (slipstream contact: Sarah Dooling Next phases will include collaborative review and feedback. Submission date goals April 15, 2024.  

    • Responsible for writing proposals, reports, and ensuring clear communication among all teams. Their key tasks include project documentation, proposal development, and interteam communication.


  2. Green Infrastructure Team: Breanne Plier from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District ( now holds a core leadership role in this team.  Randy Krous of Milwaukee's Forestry Apprenticeship program (, Jiquinna Cohen from Milwaukee Public Schools (, Chuck Schumacher from the Milwaukee Department of Public Works (, Lafayette L. Crump from the Department of City Development (, and Langston Verdin from MKE Fresh Air Collective ( Update 3/8/2024 - Strategy is emerging between Urban Ecology, Ground Works and Walnut Way for aligned training and implementation approach.  

    •  Habitat restoration, forestry-related tasks, and sustainable urban planning. Key tasks involve implementing green infrastructure projects, coordinating with city departments and schools, and monitoring air quality.​


  3. Health Research Team: This team maintains its focus on health-related aspects of environmental issues, with Dr. Nilanjan Lodh from Marquette University College of Health Sciences ( serving as a member in addition to his role in the Writing Team. Other team members include Michael Mannan from the City of Milwaukee Health Department ( and Nicole Mubanga from Outreach Health Systems ( 3/8/2024 - To repurpose the former Children's Hospital Pediatric Care Center at the previous Next Door Foundation site in 53210 Metcalf Park, the goal is to establish a community clinic for family practice. Children's previously served over 1,500 families from this site. Currently, there is no other clinic or primary care facility within a 4-square-mile radius of the community. Potential partnerships with federally qualified health centers are being considered in this initiative as we plan for the next steps.

    • focuses on the health impacts of environmental issues. Their main objective is to optimize health systems and conduct medical research related to the environment. This includes studying the effects of pollution on public health, researching new methods to mitigate these impacts, and working closely with health departments to implement findings.


  4. Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Team including workforce training: This team includes Calleb Zyduck from WE Energies - Business Services ( and Nic Schueller from Focus on Energy ( They work closely with Dan Streit from Slipstream ( and Abigail Corso from Elevate ( to implement and evaluate energy-efficient technologies and infrastructures, promote energy conservation, and provide technical expertise. Update 3/8/2024 , the acquisition of eight to 12 navigators strategically positioned partner locations to facilitate and implement inflation reduction measures, focusing on owner occupants, particularly seniors and low to middle-income families. A cohort of up to 16 organizations is engaged in an ecosystem of support to enhance stability access.

    • promote energy conservation and renewable energy use in Milwaukee. They work on implementing energy-efficient technologies and infrastructures, managing stormwater, and providing technical expertise. Their key tasks include conducting energy audits, implementing energy-saving measures, and educating the public about energy efficiency.

Project Goals

  • The Walnut Way Conservation Corps, in partnership with a cross-sector collaborative of community-based organizations, municipalities, social sector anchors, and the local community, is requesting a $20 million grant. The allocation of funds includes:

  • $5 million to the Milwaukee Community Land Trust for new construction development project subsidies in partnership with the Community Development Alliance.

  • $10 million for environmental justice and infrastructure initiative, with 16 partners receiving grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000, totaling $4 million.

  • 1.275M Family Care: Community Clinic

  • $1.5 million specifically for navigators and ambassadors stationed at Environmental Justice and Infrastructure Initiative partner sites.

  • $3 million for neighborhood-level services such as pre-weatherization, weatherization, rehab, green infrastructure, energy efficiency, and renewable.

  • $2 million African-American Leadership Alliance for training, development and education, with million going directly towards civic compensation for paid training and learning pathways in civic education, green jobs, or health and wellness advocacy.

  • 1M toward 1MW utility scale solar development

  • 350K Milwaukee Area WISP - extension implementation Subscriber start-up

  • 500K toward Green Jobs Training Center (1414 W Fon Du Lac Ave)

EPA Project Partners
African American Leadership Alliance

Walter Lanier, Executive Director

Individual Education and Development

Milwaukee Community Land Trust

Lamont Davis, executive Director

Housing Partner

City of Milwaukee office of Sustainability

Housing Partner

Urban Ecology Center

Jen Hense, Executive Director

Conservation Training and Development

Harambe Neighborhood Improvement District

Cordela Jones, Board Chair

Grass-rrots EJII Partner

RON Coalition / UMCS

William Schmidt, Executive Director

Grass-rrots EJII Partner

Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Improvement District

James Green, Board President

Grassroots EJII Partner

Century City Neighborhood

Yvonne Mcascill, Resident Leader

Grassroots EJII Partner

Amani United

Mricha Harris, Executive Director

Grass-rrots EJII Partner

Metclf park Community Bridges

Melody Curtis, Deputy Director

Grass-rrots EJII Partner

Walnut Way Conservation Corp

Antonio Butts


JCP Construction - Construction Management

James Phelps /

Development design and constrction

BUILD Genral Contracting

Sam Thurman /

Development design and constrction


Montre Moore / /

Cassandra M Flagg /

This organization could ensure that the grant's initiatives address environmental justice and equity issues, such as ensuring equal access to environmental benefits and reducing exposure to environmental hazards.

Clean Wisconsin

 environmental conservation efforts, such as habitat restoration or pollution prevention.

Renew wisconsin

 Jodi Jean Amble  

 promoting and implementing renewable energy solutions within the community.

Milwaukee - City’s Forestry Apprenticeship program

Randy Krous

will assist in forestry-related tasks such as tree planting, maintenance, and monitoring.

Milwaukee Public Schools

Jiquinna Cohen /

 integrate environmental education into their curriculum and engage students in hands-on projects related to the grant's objectives.

Milwaukee - Dept of Public Works

Chuck Schumacher /

align with broader city development plans, like sustainable urban planning.

Miwlaukee - Dept of City Development

Lafayette L. Crump, Commissioner 

 focus on ensuring that the grant's initiatives align with broader city development plans, like sustainable urban planning.

Social Development commission

Ella Dunbar, M.Ed.


 integrating the grant's goals with social development initiatives, such as community engagement or job creation.

MKE Fresh Air Collective

Langston Verdin, MPH


 contribute by monitoring air quality, educating the public about air pollution, and implementing initiatives to improve air quality.

Public Service Commission of wisconsin

Joe Fontaine │ Administrator


 align with the grant's objectives, such as increasing energy efficiency or improving water quality.

City of Miwlaukee Health Department

Michael Mannan|BS, RS, CBO, HCO, FM

 addressing public health aspects of the grant, such as reducing exposure to pollutants or promoting healthy lifestyles.

Outrech Health Systems

Nicole Mubanga, MD

optimizing health systems to better address environmental health issues related to the grant's objectives with patients.

WE Energies - Business Services

Calleb Zyduck, CEM, LEED AP

 implementing energy-efficient practices and technologies within local businesses.

Foucs on Energy

Nic Schueller | Energy Specialist

exsiting data,  promoting energy conservation and renewable energy use within the community.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Breanne (Bre) Plier, AICP


supporitng managing stormwater to protect local water resources.

Frodert Medical College CTSI

Doriel D. Ward, PhD, MPH

 conducting medical research related to environmental health issues 

Marquette University College of Health Sciences

Dr. Nilanjan (Nil) Lodh, Ph.D., M.Sc.

research on the health impacts of environmental issues and develop interventions to address them.

Grainger Institute for Engineering

Oliver Schmitz, PhD


technical expertise and research in engineering solutions to environmental challenges.

  1. Energy Analysis: They could provide comprehensive energy analysis, identifying areas where energy efficiency can be improved and suggesting actionable solutions.

  2. Implementation of Energy Efficiency Technologies: They might also be responsible for implementing new energy-efficient technologies, replacing outdated systems with more sustainable options.


Abigail Corso, P.E. ­

  1. Investing in technology and infrastructure: The grant could be used to invest in new, energy-efficient technologies and infrastructures that can help property owners reduce their carbon footprint.

  2. Monitoring and Evaluation: Lastly, part of the grant could be used to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs, allowing them to continuously improve and maximize their impact.

bottom of page